Sunday, 10 May 2020


Codenamed Operation Fork, this day in 1940 saw the invasion and subsequent five-year occupation of Iceland by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines intent on denying Nazi Germany its capture or use after Denmark fell. Wanting to maintain neutrality, Iceland rebuffed overtures by the UK to join the Allies and was seized with military means unamicably at first though no violence ensued, the initial force encountering no resistance when they landed at Rekyjavík.
Aside from its strategic location in the north Atlantic, before declaring itself a Republic—the referendum taking place whilst still under occupation (the Canadians and then the US, still officially neutral, took over operations) in 1944—the island nation remained in personal union with its former metropolitan, the Kingdom of Denmark, and had had its defences and diplomacy managed by the Danes. The social upheaval and extensive development of purpose-built infrastructure made the years of the mandate hard ones for many Icelanders and there was little evidence that the Nazis had designs on the island, believing it too difficult to hold and the lack of roads and resources made it not a tempting prospect. In response to Operation Fork, planners drew up Unternehmen Ikarus for a later take-over after the Allies finished fortifying Iceland but was never realised.